When you think of holidays in England I wonder what images enter your head first? Maybe the famous red buses in London? Or possibly the splendour of Windsor Castle, the Tower of London or Buckingham Palace?
All of those images point to some great features of England for visitors but there is a hidden side to the country. If you try and move away from the well-trodden routes of the tourist trail you'll find some real gems.
A great example of this is the South West of England. This is a region of the country that is sometimes overlooked by visitors and yet contains all of the key elements for a wonderful stay. You can certainly be forgiven for knowing little about this area, so maybe you're unaware that it contains the finest Roman spa town in the country, sandy beaches, an indoor rainforest and some great surfing. A real mixture for all the family!
There are so many wonderful places to visit in the south west that it's difficult to know where to start. Indeed, you'll find that this article only gives you a small taster of what the region has to offer.
To begin with, let's turn our attention to Bath, the unique city that is a World Heritage Site. The city of Bath was founded before the Romans even arrived in the British Isles but it is the Romans who expanded the city and helped to build its reputation. This was primarily due to their construction of the extensive Roman Baths complex, which is still open to visitors. Indeed, you're still able to drink the spa water, produced from a natural spring!
The city is also renowned for its splendid and distinctive Georgian architecture - nowhere is this more evident than when you see the Georgian crescents. As you would expect of an English city, you'll also find a more modern mix of shops, restaurants, theatres and pubs. The beauty of Bath is that the modern and the ancient seem to live side by side.
Elsewhere in South West England, Cornwall is a hidden gem that seems to have remained that way despite the fondness of the English for visiting the county on their own holidays.
The world famous Eden Project has provided a central focus for tourism in the region but it is by no means all that is on offer. You'll find quaint, traditional seaside towns, as well as modern locations where you can relax on the beach and even enjoy the best surfing conditions in the country (St Ives is particularly popular for this pursuit).
Getting to the South West of England has never been easier, with Flybe flights available direct to Exeter Airport.
So next time you think about visiting England, take a look at what the South West has to offer. You'll be nicely surprised.